Well there’s the story. This isn’t part of the actual history of the Judges; this is a gathering together of some accounts that enable us to see the social condition in that period, when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” and “there was no king in Israel.” So we understand that Micah was unable to get to [Shiloh]. He decided he would build a replica of the [tabernacle] on his own property. He built what he thought would be an appropriate building, and he made the instruments of the tabernacle, for these are part of the furnishings—the ephod included among them. But then he also gathered some of the things from the people around him: the teraphim, the images which God had forbidden.
But you see nevertheless there was a desire to get along as best he could. So he took a little bit of the world and a little bit of Israel, that which had been revealed by God, and he sort of mixed them up, until he had something that he thought might please the Lord. Then of course he was delighted beyond words when a wandering young preacher came along from Bethlehem, Judah. He was a Levite, and his mother was of the tribe of Judah. Though he himself was a Levite, God had given permission through Moses that the Levites might marry into and join themselves to other tribes.
This young man didn’t like the living provided for every Levite. He had wanderlust and an itching foot, and so he started off to see if he couldn’t do better for himself than was being done. He felt that being a Levite was good, but there should be opportunities associated with it, and so he came to the house of Micah. There he waited and there he was invited in and asked to become the priest. And Micah made a deal with him. He said, “If you’ll be my father and priest, then I’ll give you ten shekels and a shirt.” It says “clothing,” but you understand that the people of the day wore what would be called a gelabia, a sort of a long, oversized nightgown. He gave him a suit of clothes, or a change of apparel, and his food and ten shekels a year. This was a pretty good living for him, so he decided that he would stay there and enter into the mixture of idolatry and so on that was in the house of Micah.
But the people of Dan came along. They were supposed to have driven out the Amorites, but the Amorites were too difficult, and they wanted to find someone that was a little easier to get out, to move. They came to Micah’s house, and the Levite told them to go ahead. Then you find that they discovered that there were people after the manner of Zidonians at Laish. They were peaceful, and no one was there to protect them, and so they figured this would be very good place to take some land for themselves. When they came with the men that were sent to conquer this area, they figured that since they found the land through the young Levite, it would be splendid to have his assistance.
And so they went into the house of Micah and took all the things that he had made. And it cost a good bit of money, because at least two hundred shekels had been given for this one piece of furniture. And so they just took it all, made it theirs, and took the Levite. Rather hard on Micah, but you’ll notice the young Levite was able to adjust himself to this. It was amazing how flexible he was and how easily he could accommodate himself to such changes when there was a little rationalization along the way. He could begin to see that it was far more important to serve a tribe than one man’s family. And he could minister to so many more. Why, he could see the wisdom of this, and he could justify it. With no real strain of conscience he could make the adjustment and hold his hand over his mouth while they took the furniture out of the little chapel that Micah had built. He was a wise man nonetheless. Rather than go along either at the front or at the rear, which put him in a place of danger, he put himself right in the middle, so that if Micah had sent any of his servants to get him he was safe with soldiers on every side.